Jews and Yankees only go to Birmingham, Alabama to help Black people vote, right?
Guess some people would follow this tour to Love Canal to skinny dip if the situation demanded it.
And so we found ourselves at the nice Workplay venue (electric light!! indoor toilets!!) in B'ham, the relatively goat-free home of D.J. Doug from Rundgren Radio.
The preshow slumbah party and Concert Caravan were experience enough and would warrant their own review, but I'll try to focus on just the shows themselves.
TR and Company left the covers to Karaoke and got in our collective face right off the bat. The set list is a solid block of old, then new that after ten times of seeing in different incarnations I still find transcendent. I like where the songs take me. If this band played in my town every Saturday night, I'd go see them and dance and have a beer with my friends, so I don't know why people ask, "haven't you seen that show already?" Yep-- and you can probably name several TR/Utopia tours you'd like to go back in time and see more often than the Octomom sees babyshit, too... if you had the chance.
We likee current soundman Greg and were fast to pile compliments on him after being impressed with consistent good balance at levels that were perfect for this setting. Greg pronounced himself a huge Todd fan and mentioned that he loves Arena so we love him, of course and he can expect his initiation rites and blood sacrifice coordinates in a private email later.
The crowd was fun and friendly. We picked up NewFan Anna there on the fly ( Hi, Anna!!) and she even joined us the next day on our trip to Chattanooga, braving near moonings and cryptic messages affixed to the van windows with gum and other adhesives.
Chattanooga is a clean and quirky city that deserves your attention despite having no ordinance against naming venues "Rhythm and Brews". The place was smallish and strangely configured, with (gasp) seats where the dancing was supposed to happen. I suggested wheel chair parking in its own section but I guess they did not understand my non marble-mouthed patois.
To their undying credit, the staff at the venue did tolerate our shaking and grooving, our "fisting" to the song Strike, and our "highah highah" happy hands during Mountaintop--they seemed accepting of if made slightly uncomfortable by our seat shifting, our inter-gender hugging sessions and the tiny demon light display.
Maybe Paul Freeman's funny and engaging set ( he claimed to the crowd that he had "done" the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo earlier in the day and then amended himself, saying : Not did did, because that would be painful") warmed up the crowd to a point where brain fever overcame their inhibitions. There were 3 fine young men in the front row about the age of the Brothers Joan-eye but with FAR BETTER taste, who stood open-mouthed whenever TR or Jesse took incendiary solos.They also seem to have a touchingly precocious interest in the fashion choices of modern female Bass Players. These nice boys also sang along and made me super-enthused about the future of RAWK. ( one kid had hair not unlike Raggedy Andy's and I believe if he will comb it, may be pleased with the souvenir Kasim Sulton Guitar pick he will discover in the upper left quadrant).
Don't miss this show if you can help it, people.
We are lucky to have smart music played by fine citizens wearing cute clothing in an America that is still fucking AWESOME, so Man up and GO!!!